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Trust chief and former nurse retires due to illness

The chief executive of a northern NHS trust, who has a background in nursing, is retiring due to ill health.

Tracy Bullock, chief executive of University Hospitals of North Midlands NHS Trust, announced this week that a long-term illness meant she would “step aside”.

“I have always been resolute that if I cannot give 100%, then I will step aside”

Tracy Bullock

“Throughout my 14-year tenure as a chief executive I have always prided myself on my visibility and connection with staff,” said Ms Bullock.

“Some 18 months ago I was diagnosed with a long-term condition and the circumstances of my ill health now means I am unable to use this strength or to manage the demands of being a chief executive.

“I have always been resolute that if I cannot give 100%, then I will step aside.”

Ms Bullock qualified as a nurse in 1987 in Bolton and remained on the register until recently.

Throughout her career, she has undertaken various local and national leadership roles including work with the Care Quality Commission and its precursor organisations.

In 2006, Ms Bullock joined Mid Cheshire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust as director of nursing and quality and four years later she was appointed the trust’s chief executive.

She has held her current position at University Hospitals of North Midlands since 2019 and she will continue as chief executive until June, when her successor will take over.

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She said the decision came after “considerable thought and with very mixed emotions”.

“Since I started at UHNM I have been clear and vocal about what a great organisation it is and how coming to work here with you was the best career decision I ever made,” said Ms Bullock.

“Working alongside such dedicated individuals has been an honour and I am immensely proud to have been part of our UHNM family.”

David Wakefield, University Hospitals of North Midlands chair, said Ms Bullock had “transformed” the trust in her capacity as chief executive and credited her with getting it out of financial special measures.

He said Ms Bullock put “quality and caring at the heart of everything we do which has been recognised by the CQC, as well as supporting and driving improvements throughout what must be the NHS’ most challenging times, the Covid-19 pandemic”.

“On a personal level I have loved working with Tracy. Her energy, commitment and openness underpinned a strong and effective board,” added Mr Wakefield.

“Her ability to drive performance through engagement is notable and her sense of humour is always appreciated by everyone around her.

“I am saddened that we will be losing her and she will be sorely missed by everyone in the organisation. We all wish Tracy well in her retirement.”

A post on X (formerly Twitter) announcing Ms Bullock’s retirement was met with well wishes from many nurses and other healthcare professionals.

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